c. 1300, from Old French essillier "exile, banish, expel, drive off" (12c.), from Late Latin exilare/exsilare, from Latin exilium/exsilium "banishment, exile; place of exile," from exul "banished person," from ex "away" (see ex-); according to Watkins the second element is from PIE root *al- (2) "to wander" (source also of Greek alaomai "to wander, stray, or roam about"). De Vaan expands on this:
Several etymologies are possible. It might be a derivative of a verb *ex-sulere 'to take out' to the root *selh- 'to take', cf. consul and consulere; hence exsul 'the one who is taken out'. It might belong to amb-ulare < *-al- 'to walk', hence 'who walks out'. It might even belong to *helh-, the root of [Greek elauno] 'to drive': ex-ul 'who is driven out' [de Vaan, "Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages"]
In ancient times folk etymology derived the second element from Latin solum "soil." Related: Exiled; exiling.
c. 1300, "forced removal from one's country," from Old French exil, essil (12c.), from Latin exilium "banishment; place of exile" (see exile (v.)). From c. 1300 as "a banished person," from Latin exsul, exul. The Latin noun was glossed in Old English by utlanda.
updated on February 27, 2022